Special Counsel Robert Mueller has rejected the Trump legal team’s request to answer questions in the Russia probe in writing rather than sit down face to face with investigators, Rudy Giuliani told CBS News.
The number one question facing Trump’s legal team is whether to allow him to sit down with the Special Counsel. The team has long believed, that while sitting down with Mueller could potentially shorten the investigation, that the safest path for Donald Trump to answer the Special Counsel’s questions is in written form. Lying or misleading investigators is a crime and Donald Trump is legendary for his careless words, even under oath. With Robert Mueller seeking to ask questions of the President about Obstruction of Justice in regards to the firing of James Comey and pressuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, his lawyers are trying to protect him from the very real legal consequences of lying under oath.
An open letter to Speaker Paul Ryan published in Newsweek in August 2016 details the whoppers told by Donald Trump under oath and demonstrates the jeopardy he could find himself in if and when he sits down with Mueller’s team.
What is most disturbing in Trump’s sworn statements is the amount of nonsense he spouts as he mangles the English language into meanings no rational person could accept. An unsuccessful “development by Donald Trump” is not a “development by Donald Trump.” A successful project built by another developer who paid to have Trump’s name on the building is a “Donald Trump development.” A payment of $400,000 equals a payment of $1 million. An ownership stake of 30 percent is actually a 50 percent stake. In a single sentence, he says he knows some people’s names but not their identities, as if talking about Batman and Superman. He studied résumés, but he only glanced at them. The list goes on, with one point in common: Every one of his answers, while under oath, depends not on the truth but on whether it makes him look good.
Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal a decision as to whether the President will sit down with Mueller will come by May 17, the one year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment to head the investigation into Russian interference with the Presidential election.
Giuliani stated to CBS News that he is familiarizing himself with the facts of the case as he and the legal team negotiate terms of an interview and prepare their client. He believes it will take several days to prepare Mr. Trump and foresees a possible interview taking place after the North Korea summit.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House legal team held a four hour practice session to prepare the President for a potential interview. The lawyers were only able to ask two questions in those four hours, thanks to “the frequent interruptions on national security matters along with Mr. Trump’s loquaciousness”. Mueller reportedly has dozens of questions he would like to ask Donald Trump, so the interview would likely end up lasting several days.
If Mueller subpoenas the President, the President’s legal team is prepared to fight him in court. The case would likely be decided by the Supreme Court. On Sunday, on ABC’s This Week, Giuliani said, “We don’t have to [comply with a subpoena]. He’s the president of the United States. We can assert same privilege as other presidents have.”
Last week, Donald Trump told reporters,“I would love to speak, but I have to find that we’re going to be treated fairly because everybody sees it right now and it is a pure witch hunt.”
Why It Matters
If the President is subpoenaed because he refuses to answer the Special Counsel’s questions and refuses to comply, instead fighting Mueller to the Supreme Court, that will be a Constitutional Crisis.
We do not have a King who is above the law. We have a President. Any other citizen would be at risk for being fined or face jail time for not complying with a subpoena. Why should a President not comply? Being worried that one might accidentally incriminate themselves while under oath is not a legitimate reason for refusing to comply with investigators. If one is worried about the possibility of inadvertently misleading investigators, one should review the facts and make sure one is telling the truth when asked a question.
Historically, the Supreme Court has ruled on the side of presidents needing to comply with a subpoena, so this case will be an interesting one to watch.